Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Guest Post: Classic Summer Style

Since I am driving across the country today on my great move back to Texas, I have lined up a special guest post for you guys! Today I want to introduce you to Kali from This Bliss. I started following her this summer as she started her blogging adventures. I absolutely love her style! I strongly encourage you to become her next follower! You won't regret it :)


Hello Infinite Illumination readers! I’m Kali and I blog about my daily life and fashion over at This Bliss. I’m so happy to guest post for Abby today – like her, I’m also an Iowa girl. I currently live in Des Moines with my fiancé (we just got engaged on July 4th!). By day, I manage email programs for, and by night, I blog about everything I’m passionate about – including fashion, beauty, and home décor. I picked this outfit to share with you guys today because it really showcases my typical summer style. Summer is by far my favorite season to dress for, and I’m definitely a shorts and sandals type of girl.

Find This Bliss Blog on Facebook here 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

letters from my heart: the truth about moving


This blog series I started earlier this summer and so far have only posted one topic. Today I want to explain what is on my heart with the topic of moving. Traveling and living in places other than where I grew up has always been something that is on my heart. These desires are placed there by God and I believe what I am doing with my life is what God wants of me. For those of you who don't know I will be moving back to Texas for a job this Wednesday.

For me, moving away the first time was a dream come true. *Moving away the first time was this past January to Houston for student teaching. I lived there from January til June and came home for the summer. I took a job in Houston as a 6th grade Language Arts teacher that will start here in August. As I left my family on this adventure it was all so new and exciting. As I said my goodbyes to my family I didn't really even cry. It wasn't until two months later that it hit me. I went through the first 8 weeks of student teaching on cloud 9. I loved every second of it. I thought it was perfect and at the time in my mind I was staying in Texas to teach.

The decision was made to fly home for my spring break to visit my family. I arrived and was greeted at the airport by my mom and friend Moriah. The week made me realize how homesick I was. Not only was I homesick, I was physically sick too during the time home. I left my family at the airport feeling like a dark tunnel of sadness was covering me in. As soon as I got back to Houston I was incredibly homesick. The kind of sadness where you can't function. That was what I was up against. After getting back into the swing of my new Texas life I began to enjoy it again and I reached out and made some new friends.

In March I was presented with two teaching job offers and was asked to make a decision quickly. If I would have been presented with these opportunities earlier on in the first 8 weeks I would have jumped right on it. However, after being homesick I wasn't sure what to do. I prayed a lot in the few days that I had to make my decision. With the help of countless conversations with close friends and family about my decision I came to the conclusion that it was best to give it a go than to regret not trying. I can always move home if I don't like it but I may always regret not staying. < That was the major conclusion from all points of view. I know for certain that regrets are something I try to live without.

I made the trip back to Iowa at the beginning of June and have spent this summer at home with my family and friends. Being around everyone for the past two months has made me realize how sad I am to go back to Texas. Don't get me wrong, in my heart I really do want to be there. I know I'm doing what I've always dreamed of but I never imagined how hard it would be. When I used to think about moving I always thought about how fun it would be and homesickness never even crossed my mind. After moving away I know differently now. I know that as I go back it will be a transition. I will be homesick but it will only be a building block for my strength. As much as I love my family these are the things I have to do for myself to feel fulfilled.

I know that this experience will be one in a lifetime for me and I am so grateful to have that. I am also so grateful for my family for the support. Without them my dreams would not come true. So a big thanks to my parents.

Keep coming back to read about my adventures in Texas! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Button Up!

Hey y'all! Just brushing up on my Texas talk. :) Check out my new blog button! Thanks to Jenni over at Story of My Life for creating this for me! If you've never heard of her you must go check out her blog. She is one of my top 5 favorite bloggers.


Button up with this beauty :)

Family Photos: The Kern's

So glad I was able to take family photos for these lovely people! I just love these guys!

Like Abby Ann Photography on Facebook here

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Summer Shoot: Molly Kate

My beautiful sister! I had so much fun on the farm taking photos of her! She is a natural.

'Like' Abby Ann Photography on Facebook here

Friday, July 26, 2013

Etsy Artist: Sara Schnell

Today I want to introduce you to the lovely Sara Schnell! Sara is an Etsy artist and for those of you that are new here I'm an Etsy fanatic. To say I love Etsy is an understatement. Sara creates unique shadow boxes for home decoration. Check her out!

Meet Sara! Owner of Red River Valley

I have lived in Iowa for 22 years and have been crafting for most of them. I really enjoy creating and up-cycling  almost anything. I enjoy scrap booking, reading and playing volleyball and tennis. I graduated from Grand View University in 2009 and am an aspiring full time crafter! I live Des Moines with my fiance and puppy, Clover.

How did you get into making your products?

I started scrap booking when I was in grade school. A few years ago, my fiance's younger sister was graduating from high school. I decided to make her a series of 3 personalized shadow boxes as her graduation gift. The encouragement from those shadow boxes spurred me to start looking for avenues to sell my work.

Why did you choose to use Etsy?

I tried creating my own website and advertising on free platforms but saw little to no results. A co-worker of mine introduced me to Etsy and I fell in love. Setting up my shop was easy and they have so many forums and resources to help. I love the shop stats tools and have learned so much for the teams. Etsy is very user friendly and offers so many tools!

What is your favorite product to make?

I really enjoy making all of my products but my favorite thing to make are the shadow boxes. There are just so many options with them. The size, type of frame, colors and embellishments. The possibilities are endless!

Make sure to check out Sara's Etsy shop at Red River Valley 

She is generously offering Infinite reader's a discount! Get 20% off with the code: SAVE20

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Life Lately via Instagram

1. Huge pizza
2. Crocheted blanket finally finished
3. Cherry danish
4. Blue ribbon at county fair
5. Macarons
6. Crochet scarf
7. A beautiful mess app. In love. 
8. Repeat #7
9. My new love

we need a movement // the self concept of young women

Self esteem issues have become very prevalent in today's young girls and women. Who is to blame for the lack of self esteem and self concept you ask? My opinion is that there are many factors, but the biggest being our society. That is correct, I said it. Our very own society. Just take a minute to observe what the world around you tells us females to be. There are so many rules and guidelines that are expected to be followed to "fit it." Magazines portray mainly tall skinny women with evident cheek bones and clear skin. Is that what we truly believe beauty is? Now think about what is laid out before us in media about women and sexuality... if you take a walk down a magazine aisle or hop on the internet you will see many images with titles telling us that this image is the image of a sexy woman. I can understand the 'want' to feel sexy at times but when this is what young girls and women are being exposed to they start comparing themselves. Is it human nature for us to compare ourselves to others? Where did that even come from? Some of you who are reading this may think "the media doesn't change my self concept," however, many young girls are not fully aware of who they are yet and they are very much so affected by what society tells them.

I believe we need to stand up and fight back against what society tells us is acceptable for women to be. If we were all to fall into place with these "rules" where would individuality go? I don't see the need to compare ourselves to each other because we were all created differently. We all have a separate purpose. We all were created perfectly. God made no mistake in creating his people. Everyone is beautiful in their own way and I truly think for the young women struggling on a daily basis with their self concept and self esteem we need to be the strong ones for them. So this I ask of you... reach out to somebody who could use the extra boost. Talk to your daughters, nieces, sisters, or whoever may need to be reached. We need a movement in this country. Start with your family and friends. Don't let this issue continue to go unnoticed. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

D.I.Y. Garden Decorations

Whats better than summer plants? Decorated summer plants... duh! These are so sweet and simple. Also, pretty much the cheapest craft ever. I hope you're inspired to create some of your own!

Paint Samples
Sticks (craft sticks)
*I used wood scraps my dad cut out.
Hot Glue

Instructions for Successful Crafting:

1. Gather materials. Choose paint samples from a home good store.
2. Set up a craft space (if you don't already have one) and lay out all materials.
3. Pour yourself some wine.
4. Get your camera ready to capture your creativity.
5. Start designing! 
6. Once you have your designs cut out use the hot glue gun to attach the sticks.
7. Decorate plant & take pictures!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer Shoot: Abby O

Spent the weekend with my best friend. Of course we did a photo shoot! Again on the farm. Love her!

Farmers Market Favorites

Hello loves. Over the weekend I was able to attend the Des Moines Farmers Market again. I was so excited! My best friend was in town and we met up with another friend at the market. The place was packed! Markets are just! We got some great steals again this weekend. I can't wait to scope out the markets in Houston when I go back in just a little while. I hope you all had a successful weekend!